Friday, June 3, 2016

From the Grudge Match: Ted Blanchard Reviews Clash of the Champions XXV





Live from St. Pattersburg (Jesse Ventura's pronunciation), Florida. Hosted by the newly-debuted "Mean" Gene Okerlund. With him here, someone seems to be missing. Hmm...

Big Gold Belt, um, championship, Rick Rude (c) vs. Hawk- I never get tired of Rude's theme. I'm sad he's only got one more appearance left. They are also calling it the World Heavyweight Championship, so I don't know. Hawk shoves Rude to the corner to begin after trash-talk. More tying up and shoving. Now Hawk picks Rude up by the armpits and throws him back. Rude cheapshots out of a test of strength, and elbows and stomps Rude. Hawk no-sells two turnbuckle slams, then he does the same to Rude. Hawk backdrops Rude, then slams him. Rude's tights have people he's beaten, and his BFF Jesse Ventura, on them. Rude gives him a backbreaker and goes up, but eats boot. Hawk clotheslines Rude out, and they do some video game brawling until they get counted out. * This match sets the tone for the whole show.

The Shockmaster vs. the Equalizer- Eq is not Kevin Sullivan's brother Evad yet. Since we last saw him, Shocky has switched to a construction worker look, complete with hard hat. Jesse says he wears the hard hat so he doesn't knock himself out. Eq jumps him too start, and rams him into the corner. Eq chokes him on the top rope, and whips him off it. Now he chokes him on the middle rope on the other side. Way to mix it up, Evad! Then he does the running splash on him that Big Bossman used to do. Eq hits a belly-to-back suplex for two. Eq gets a shoulderblock but can't drop him. Shocky hits a big boot, and rams him into the buckles. Eq hits a clothesline and gets nothing, and Fred locks him in a bearhug and falls down on him for the win. 1/2* Wikipedia listed it at 8 minutes, but it was actually less than half that, thankfully.

Gene interviews Col. Parker. He dropped Sid Vicious, and picked up the hottest thing in town, Steve Austin. He has a restraining order against Sid, but he was actually already gone after the stabby stabby with Arn.

World television championship, Lord Steven Regal (c) vs. Johnny B. Badd- Ugh. Regal slaps him to begin. Badd works his arm, and hits a shoulderblock. Sunset flip for two. Chain wrestling, as without knowing I'm positive this'll be a time-limit draw. Regal grabs an armbar, then a suerfboard. Badd flips out of that, and drop toeholds Regal. He rolls that into a headlock on the mat. Shoulderblock, then Badd hit the top rope on a bodypress attempt. European uppercuts. Armbar, and Regal forearms Badd in the face. Butterfly suplex on Badd, then Badd KO's Regal with a punch. The ref backs Badd up and then Sir William complains on the apron. Badd tries a pin but Regal gets his foot on the rope thanks to Dundee, then Regal rolls him up with a handful of tights for the win. *1/2. At least it wasn't a decision, I mean, time-limit draw.

Steve Austin vs. Brian Pillman- Pillman jumps him right away. Pillman chases Parker but gets clotheslined by Austin. Pillman reverses a whip and sends Austin to the railing. Pillman backdrops Austin and chops him. Flying headscissors, and Austin begs for a handshake. Austin goes to the ramp but forearms Pillman when he comes out. Pillman reverses a piledriver attempt to a backdrop, then climbs to the top. His splash hits boot, and then Pillman is sent to the safety rail. Austin drops a forearm, and they throw chops. Pillman boydpresses back in for two, and then Austin sort-of Stun Guns him. Austin covers him for two. Austin chops him down, and chokes Pillman on the middle rope. Austin gets a half-crab, and grabs the top rope. Elbows and chops, and Pillman hits a no-look elbow from behind. Pillman hits the ropes to crotch Austin, and chops him while he sits on the top. Austin reverses a superplex attempt, but gets dropkicked as he comes down. Austin kicks out at two, but forearms Pillman on a backdrop attempt. Pillman hits a hurricanrana for two. Austin backdrops Pillman to the apron, then catches his leap back in to the powerslam. Austin jumps at Pillman on the ropes but misses, then gest DDT'd for 2.9. Austin hits Papoose-to-Go, and Austin heads to the top. Austin's knees miss, and Pillman almost gets him. Austin dumps Pillman out on a Stun Gun attempt, and Parker trips Pillman while he's standing on the top rope. Austin rolls him up. ***1/2. WAY better than anything else on this show.

Mean Gene in the Battlebowl Control Center. Paul Orndorff and Sting cut pre-recorded promos.

U.S. championship, Paul Orndorff vs. Dustin Rhodes (c)- Old rivals the Assassin and Dusty Rhodes are at ringside, and are big in this area. Jesse calls the Assassin "svelte," and notes his head barely fits into the mask. Dustin throws a shoulder and slams Orndorff twice. The Assassin sneaks toward Dusty, who sees him and shakes his ass. Jesse notes "it's pretty hard not to see those two." I'm sure WCW would prefer the color man put the two legends over, but that's f'in funny. Orndorff works the arm. Dustin eventually gets a top wristlock, and legdrops Paul's arm. Dustin rams Paul's shoulder to the top buckle. A charging Orndorff hits knee, and Dustin continues headlockery. Orndorff turns it into a hammerlock then an armbar. Dustin gets kneed then his head gets slammed to the mat. Belly-to-back by Orndorff, and a non-boogie woogie elbow. Dustin gets a near-fall on a backslide, then clotheslines Orndorff for another close one. Orndorff rams Dustin to the buckles, and rakes the boot laces on his head. Clothesline, and back to the rest hold. Dustin hits the Lariat for a near fall, and signals the bulldog. Orndorff kind of blocks the bulldog, but Dustin gets a sunset flip for a near fall. Orndorff signals the piledriver, but gets backdropped. Orndorff goes to the top, but misses a kneedrop. Dustin then wraps him in an inside cradle for the pin. I'm going to give this an extra star for Ventura's commentary. **1/2. Assassin throws Dustin to the post, but Dusty gives him bionic elbows back in, and tries to unmask him until Orndorff hits Dusty with a roll of tape. Assassin then hits Dusty with the belt. Orndorff tries to piledrive Dusty, but gets lariated by Dustin. Dusty cradles the U.S. belt on the mat for some reason as we head to break.

World tag team championship, Sting/British Bulldog vs. Nasty Boys (c)- Trivia note- Sting wrestled in tag team matches at all four 1993 Clashes. Jesse points out what I was thinking, that Missy looks like Madonna here. The Nasties rush the challengers, and Bulldog and Sags go on the ramp while Sting and Knobbs are inside. Rude sneaks out and gives Davey Boy a Rude Awakening on the ramp. Hawk runs out to help Davey. Sting breaks away from the Nasties to check on his partner. I don't think we ever got that Rude-Davey matchup. The bell finally rings, and the Nasties doubleteam Sting, who finally clotheslines them. He dropkicks each man, and rams Knobbs' head to the buckles. Sting chops Knobss off the top for a nearfall. Sting rams Sags' head to the buckle, and subdues Knobbs so he can check on the Bulldog. Sting hiptosses Saggs, and drops an elbow for two. Sting kicks at Sags while cheking on Davey. Sting slams Sags and goes up, but Knobbs pushes him off the top while Missy distracts the ref. Sags drops knees and tags Knobbs, who gutwrench suplexes the Stinger. Sags throws Sting over the top while the ref is distracted. Knobbs gets a bearhug. Sags pitches Sting out, as Davey is back on the apron. Knobbs chokes Sting with his jacket while the ref is distracted. Knobbs gets a camel clutch. Sags locks in a sleeper, but Sting rams him to the buckles and tags Davey. The Bulldogs does bodyslams and dropkicks, and a double clothesline.  Bulldog does a double DDT, and presses Sting onto the Nasties. All four men in, and Davey powerslams Knobbs. Sags hits the sloppy elbow from the top, and Knobbs pins the Bulldog. * The match just served the angle. I think Davey flaked out or failed a drug test soon after, because I think he no-showed a TV match and was replaced by the Big Bossman. I think they said he couldn't find the arena, lol.

As Ric Flair heads to the ring, Parker tells him Austin challenges him. Flair punched Parker.

WCW world championship, Ric Flair vs. Vader (c)- This seemed like quite the match to give away on free TV. I should've known how this would go. Flair slams Race and puts him in teh figure four as we return from break. Vader splashes Flair and punches away, probably for real. Clothesline on Flair, and Vader press slams him. Vader drags him back in the ring, and hits the Vader splash. Headbutts, and Flair chops and stomps in the corner. He charges Vader, but gets mauled. Vader drops an elbow on the leg.Vader punches away again, and Flair flips right out of the ring. Race rams him to the railing and Vader distracts the ref. Vader misses a splash onto the railing. Flair goes up and drops an axehandle on Vader. Flair drops Vader with a chop, but runs into a boot. Vader misses a splash and Flair goes for the figure four. Race rakes Flair's eyes from outside. Vader suplexes Flair in, then splashes him for a nearfall. Vader goes to the middle buckles but gets slammed. Flair goes up and hits a chop off the top.  Flair flip hits a camera, and since he's a face Flair connects coming off the top. Vader runs into the ref, then Vader catches Flair coming off of the top. Vader superplexes Flair (!) and both are down. Vader drags him to the corner, and misses a moonsault. Flair covers and the ref seemingly counts to three, but he was just crawling across the ring. Vader was already disqualified. **3/4. This felt like an abridged version of a ppv match. Austin runs in and Vader and Steve work him over. Dustin Rhodes and the Shockmaster come to save Flair, since I think Sid was already actually fired. Flair then tells Okerlund he challenges Vader and Austin to a tag team match, playah. His partner will be Sid!*

(* Sid won't be appearing in WCW again until 1999.)

I consider this the worst Clash overall. The matches were all letdowns. The card was hyped as having five title matches, but no titles changed. We didn't really get the Bulldog in that match, either. Watching live, I knew once Vader collided with the ref that there'd be no title change. This one looked good on paper, but nothing that mattered long-term happened.

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